2019 NFL Combine Winners and Losers: Draft Stock Up or Down?
NFL teams value the combine; there just is not an argument to be had otherwise. There are segments of the analytics community that decry the predictive value of the athletic workouts performed at the NFL Combine but NFL teams certainly were paying attention to the 2019 NFL Combine. These teams then draft the players we use for dynasty fantasy football and often times deploy them in ways that correlate to where they are drafted… which correlates to how they performed at the 2019 NFL Combine. As such, it is important to determine who the winners and losers from the 2019 NFL Combine were!
2019 NFL Combine Winners
D.K Metcalf, Wide Receiver, Ole Miss
By now, you have probably gotten sick of hearing about D.K Metcalf’s insane 2019 NFL combine performance. He put out the best weight-adjusted 40 yard dash time since Julio Jones and is drawing comps to Calvin Johnson from a pure physicality spectrum. Jason Lisk from the Sporting News went through historical combine numbers to compare Metcalf to players of similar size of which there were 116. Per Lisk’s research, Metcalf ranked 2nd best in 40 time (Darrius Heyward-Bey, 4.30, 2009), tied for 8th best vertical (Chris Conley, 45 inches, 2015), tied for most bench press reps (Greg Little, 27, 2011), 4th best broad jump (Chris Conley, 139, 2015), 4th worst 3-cone drill time (all others in bottom five went undrafted) and 4th worst shuttle drill time (Marcus Easley, 4.60, 2010).
There are obviously some small concerns with the obvious lack of agility but adjusted for size, I have to say that Metcalf clearly made himself some money with his combine performance. He will likely go in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft thanks to his combine performance dominating the concerns about his production at Ole Miss.
Alex Barnes, Running Back, Kansas State
As Anthony Amico detailed in his prospect profile on Barnes, the former Kansas State Wildcats went from an undrafted free agent to perhaps a Day Two NFL Draft pick thanks to his 2019 NFL combine performance. Barnes was a reasonably productive player at K-State but not so overwhelmingly a la Devin Singletary, that the NFL Draft masses paid him a lot of attention. However, after weighing in at 226 pounds and then proceeding to run 4.59 40 to register a speed of 101.8 and then having an 85th percentile agility score, NFL teams will be valuing Barnes as a much different prospect. He is now much more similar to a Rex Burkhead with speed as opposed to an H-back sort of player.
Noah Fant, Tight End, Iowa
Fant is better than Hockenson… I think. Despite being outproduced by TJ Hockenson in their final season at Iowa, Fant absolutely made a mockery of the combine. He ran a 4.5 flat 40 at TWO HUNDRED AND FORTY-NINE POUNDS. That is a 99th percentile score. Fant is 97th percentile or better in the 40-yard dash, speed score, agility score, burst score and catch radius while registering a 128.8 SPARQ score. Noah Fant owned the 2019 NFL Combine and as far as I am concerned, is the biggest winner of this whole group. If I was an NFL GM at this time, Fant would go in the first 10 picks of the NFL Draft.
Parris Campbell, Wide Receiver, Ohio State
Campbell has been a pleasant surprise for me in the #process of researching the 2019 NFL Draft. I was not sure if there were many players who fit the Tavon Austin/Taylor Gabriel/Cordarelle Patterson mold of players who can be effective as runners, receivers and special teams players but Campbell is that guy. I detailed in my scouting report that I expected him to perform well at the combine and he did. Campbell ran the fastest 40 of the combine of any player with a 4.31 and weighed 205 pounds which gave him a 96th percentile speed score. It appears that Campbell’s 2019 NFL Combine will jettison him to being a Day 2 draft pick
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2019 NFL Combine Losers
Devin Singletary, Running Back, Florida Atlantic University
This was a particularly brutal one for me but a good lesson to learn. Production does not mean everything for college prospects, even when it is very good production. In my prospect profile on Singletary, I wondered if he might not test well at the combine and the results were shocking. He ran a 4.66 40 at only 203 pounds, leaving him in the 13th percentile for running backs. Singletary is a good lesson on adapting to new information. If a prospect has massive red flags for athleticism, it does not disqualify him from being useful but it does mean that he would have to be an outlier to provide future fantasy football value. Singletary’s stock is in a free fall at his 40 and 11.72 agility score times and I will be moving him well outside of my top-5 running backs for this class.
Lil’Jordan Humphrey, Wide Receiver, Texas
Humphrey is the Devin Singletary of wide receivers. My prospect profile on Lil’Jordan Humphrey was overall, quite positive, but he really let me down in shorts at the 2019 NFL Draft Combine. Humphrey has fairly ideal NFL size, at 6’4″ and 210 pounds but when he started the athletic testing, he measured short. His 4.75 40 yard dash time was the slowest of all wide receivers at the combine and wouldn’t even be close to the best tight end time. His agility score was similarly poor and his SPARQ score is 16th percentile for wide receivers. At this point, the best that I can give Lil’Jordan Humphrey is a Day Three NFL Draft grade and that might prove to be too high.
Elijah Holyfield, Running Back, Georgia
Holyfield is undraftable. His 2019 NFL Draft Combine was the equivalent of bad offensive lineman. If he was not injured, I am not sure there is even a way to make sense of what he did in Indianapolis. His 4.78 40 yard dash time at 217 pounds gave him a 7th percentile speed score. His second attempt, where most players actually get faster, was .03 seconds slower! He was able to do 26 reps on the bench press but even I, as a connoisseur of the combine, can’t find predictive value in bench press reps. Perhaps Holyfield will run again at a pro day and post a significantly better time but unless that happens, leave Holyfield off of any and all draft boards.
Riley Ridley, Wide Receiver, Georgia
The idea that Ridley was ever a top-10 wide receiver in this class was laughable from the jump but he didn’t do himself any favors at the 2019 NFL Combine. The brother of Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley, Riley had only 1,015 receiving yards and four touchdown receptions at Georgia in three seasons. Plus athleticism would have given Ridley a chance of being drafted but he ran a 4.58 40 yard dash, had an agility score time of 11.50 and a 19th percentile SPARQ score. Ridley was neither productive nor athletic and really has no real NFL Draft stock to me at this time.